It's not just the elderly that suffer from the pain and discomfort of arthritis, it can also disable our beloved pets and dogs, cats and horses are no exception to this terrible affliction.
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Arthritis and hip dysplasia is more common in larger breeds of dog, but small dog breeds and cats, can also suffer from arthritic conditions. Hip dysplasia and most other joint diseases can be easily prevented by good breeding practices and optimum nutrition. Dogs that have a predisposition to hip dysplasia should be given vitamin C from birth to prevent the condition developing.
Holistically, we look at arthritis as being caused from a genetic predisposition or from toxicity. Conventional treatment is aimed solely at suppressing the symptoms, while naturopathic treatment looks at the underlying causes, and by making the necessary adjustments to the diet, and using natural remedies & nutritional supplements to relieve symptoms and bring about improved health over all.
The poor nutritional value of processed foods and preservatives is a major contributor to arthritis in dogs and cats. Diets consisting of excess meat intake and, or grains also run the risk of causing imbalances which can cause excess acidity, joint weakness and stiffness. The common mistake of feeding excess grains to horses along with the use of cooked (processed) feeds and synthetic fertilisers on pasture is the main cause. Rest is important in the acute stage. Pain is nature's way of telling us, to stop and rest. Pain relief may be used, but don't allow it to give a sense that all is well and vigorous exercise can be resumed prematurely, as this can lead to more serious complications.
Regular exercise is vital for health and even animals with arthritis need regular exercise to keep joints moving, but take it slow and steady so as not to cause more discomfort until they are ready to increase exercise levels as improvement occurs. Generally after starting on naturopathic treatment results can be seen within a few weeks.
Fasting is also an essential part of the treatment to aid in detoxification. This is best done under the supervision of an animal practitioner. But most dogs and cats can safely fast for up to 36 hours during acute inflammatory stage to help relieve discomfort. It is a natural part of healing for animals to fast, they are more in touch with their natural instincts that humans for that matter. They will often refuse food when feeling unwell or in severe pain.
The following broth may be given instead of regular meals to provide nutrients and encourage fluid intake:- Chop up some vegies such as carrot, celery, parsnip, parsley & add a piece of meat or bone. Cover with filtered water and bring to the boil, simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and allow to cool. Serve two or three times daily:-Two tablespoons for small dogs and cats & up to 1 cup for larger breeds.
A natural preservative-free diet is essential for dogs and cats, especially those with arthritic conditions.
A diet consisting of fresh raw meat (in many instances it is best to avoid red meat also) and bones with finely minced raw vegies are the best food you can give your pets. It will not only help to keep them in optimum health and disease-free but can help to reverse existing health conditions caused from poor diet in the past. This can be made up into weekly portions using a food processor and frozen, or made up fresh each day. We would not feed our children packaged foods every day, so why should we expect our pets to live well on this type of food. For a few extra minutes to prepare, you will save on health problems in the long-term.
The following nutritional supplements can be beneficial for animals with arthritis:-
Dolomite powder is a natural source of calcium and magnesium, & Kelp is rich in many minerals, iodine and vitamins.
GREENPET Essentials for dogs, cats and horses contains nutrients which are beneficial in maintaining optimum health and wellbeing.
Apple cider Vinegar (use only good quality vinegar made from whole apples, not just the peelings)- A teaspoon can be added to water bowl daily or 1-2 tablespoons in feed for horses.
GREENPET Shark Cartilage is a rich natural source of micronutrients such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and hyaluronic acid. These nutrients are essential for the maintenance and repair of joint tissues including cartilage, joint fluid, tendons and ligaments. When supplied in larger amounts in the diet, they can accelerate the natural healing and repair of damage to these tissues as in arthritis and damaged tendons and ligaments.
Green Lipped mussel extract - This contains high levels of glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin and glucosamine sulphate as well as many amino acids, antioxidants, lipids and minerals. TECHNYFLEX is one of the best products available which is cold processed and very effective. It has proven very extremely beneficial in treating arthritis. Technyflex is available for canines, felines and horses.
MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) -This is a natural form of biological sulphur found throughout the body; it is needed for proper cell function and wellbeing. All pets that have been fed on cooked and processed foods need this essential element.
Glucosamine powders -(sulfate and HCL) these pure glucosamine powders are excellent nutritional formulas for arthritic conditions, especially for osteoarthritis.
Joint GMC is a blend of glucosamine, MSM and pure rosehip powders that is an excellent joint food supplement for horses and dogs.
Ester C is a non-acidic form of vitamin C, which has proven very beneficial in reducing inflammation and helping in arthritic, conditions generally.
Homeopathic remedies can help provide effective relief from the symptoms. Some of the most common ones used are
APIS In the early stages, where the joint is swollen with an increase in synovial fluid.
RHUS TOX- Lameness associated with stiffness of muscles and tendons, which improve with exercise.
BRYONIA -When the condition is worse on movement and pressure on the joint brings relief.
ARNICA -Is excellent for pain, swelling and bruising after an injury or accident.
BELLADONNA -When the joints are very hot and swollen without excess fluid. Various joints may be affected.
HYPERICUM -This is one of the main remedies for pain relief.
CALC CARB -For overweight animals that have calcium imbalances.
MINERALS -This homeopathic remedy is excellent for all calcium imbalances and calcification in the joints.
CALC FLUOR -For dislocations such as knees that continue to pop out. Homeopathic remedies are easy to administer to all animals and are safe and effective without any side effects.
HOMEOPATHIC ARTHRIT & HOMEOPATHIC SKEL formulas are unique combinations specific for assisting with arthritic symptoms.
There are many herbs that have anti-inflammatory actions that can greatly benefit arthritis sufferers.
A few of the more common ones used are:-
Guaiacum is especially beneficial for rheumatic complaints showing inflammation and pain.
Celery seeds have long been used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout, and are often combined with juniper to ease pains in the joints and muscles.
Devils claw is beneficial in some cases of arthritis to reduce inflammation and pain.
Meadowsweet -is an effective pain-reliever that is also beneficial for the digestive system. This herb should not be used for cats.
Burdock -is also helpful, especially when suffering from skin conditions also.
Comfrey is an excellent herb for arthritis and is often eaten by animals that need it, or it can be made into a poultice and applied to the affected areas daily.
Some of these herbs should not be used during pregnancy & professional advice is recommended before self administering to animals with pre-existing health conditions.
Fresh or dried herbs can be fed directly to horses in their feed or made into an infusion and poured over feed. For most animals, I find the herbal extracts easiest, as they can be mixed into a little food or water and given orally. Depending on the needs of the individual animal, a specific blend of herbs can be made up which is generally more effective than using just one herb.
HERBAL JNT TONIC contains many of the above herbs in a specific blend.
Vets all Natural Herbal Joint formula is another excellent natural nutritional supplement powder specific for these types of conditions.
Massage can offer relief in many instances and as long as there is no broken skin, massage daily with HERB GEL. This contains a unique blend of herbal extracts, homeopathics and much more.
As you can see from the above, there are quite a few options available for treating arthritic conditions safely and effectively without having to rely on drugs which can have adverse side effects to the long-term health of your pets. In most cases, by simply making some dietary changes and adding one or two nutritional supplements to the diet with homeopathic or herbal treatment, you can have your pet on the road to recovery in no time.
I have seen many dogs, cats, horses (and people) who have been struggling to get around, change to younger-looking animals leaping about with boundless energy. This disease is not necessarily a part of old age, it is possible to grow old gracefully without any aches and pains if the laws of nature are followed.
Please seek the advice of a qualified animal practitioner for the most appropriate treatment recommendations for your pet.
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